We need to stop looking at Ulfric and Tamriel politics through our real world eyes, don’t forget this is a medieval fantasy and so of course, by racist I mean racist by Tamriel’s standards (meaning you should expect Ulfric believes Nords are superior because all races believe themselves better, but we should look at whether he mistreats others unjustly based on race alone). We also need to consider the way Tamriel works with Race generally dictating allegiance and home and not treating it like different races in real life.
I believe Ulfric is not racist and thus he isn’t evil either. He is just naive. I will explain why the common reasons Ulfric is thought to be racist are wrong and look at his primary interactions with other races to disprove this slander.
“Skyrim belongs to the Nords”: Context is often ignored when people use this to claim Ulfric is racist, people act like he means other races can’t also live in Skyrim. However, it needs to be considered with Skyrim independence in mind. He just means that he wants the Nords to rule their own home and not the Imperial Empire. A lot of people say that the Nords aren’t native and mention Forsworn, Falmer and Dwemer were on Skyrim first. Well Dwemer are gone, Falmer started a war with men and lost sealing their own downfall, and the Forsworn are not anymore native than Nords. So as the Nords are the primary inhabitants of Skyrim, it does in practice belong to the Nords.
The Windhelm Dunmer: Often cited as proof of Ulfric being evil, I suggest they prove otherwise. He allows the Dunmer refugees to have an entire quadrant of his city, sure it is the poorest part but Windhelm probably does not have much money spare with most of it being funnelled into the war effort, there is nothing suggesting Ulfric wouldn’t help the Dark Elves after the war was over, especially if they decided to help in the war. Also, it needs to be mentioned that the Dunmer have a rocky history including enslavement of Argonians, Daedra worship and more. They are probably one of the top races competing for most evil race in the Elder Scrolls although by the time of Skyrim they seem to be on the backfoot. In game sources also suggest that it is the Dunmer who are refusing to integrate with the Nords in Windhelm, as in Riften (also Stormcloak) they are living comfortably.
The Windhelm Argonians: Ulfric won’t allow them to live inside the city walls, boohoo they keep killing Dunmer, what do they expect? As I mentioned they have valid reason to hate the Dunmer but during Skyrim the Dunmer are refugees and Argonians are not. If they were willing to live peacefully then they would probably be allowed to live inside Windhelm. Also, he still allows Argonians to live in Windhelm just on the docks and not inside the Walls.
The Altmer: Ulfric has very valid reasons to dislike the Altmer, he is a veteran of a great war vs Aldmeri Dominion. Was tortured and misled to believe he cost the Empire the imperial city by the Altmer but most importantly the Altmer banned Talos (It is understandable to use why they want to ban Talos worship). Yet with all this considered Altmer can still live comfortably in Windhelm as evidenced by Niranye.
These are the main arguments I see for Ulfric being evil and racist and I don’t think any of them are valid. Markarth could be a valid reason to see Ulfric as evil but it is still debatable how much of that is true and how much is just Imperial exaggeration to weaken Ulfric’s claim to Skyrim. Also, he killed Torygg in a Nord tradition and using the thu'um was not cheating because it was known he had trained with the greybeards and the Nords don’t considered the thu'um magic. Therefore, Ulfric is the rightful High King of Skyrim.
The lore in the elder scrolls is vast so I have more that likely missed something, which is why I am opening to having my mind changed. Even though I don’t expect I will. Also, if it was not obvious, I am very bored, elder scrolls 6 when?
Also, I know this debate is brought up often and usually the thread is filled with salt. I thought this would be a more interesting way to debate this issue and might lead to a less salt filled thread.
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